McDuff to McDuffee/MacFie

Our SCOTS-IRISH History by Sue & Marilyn/2004; (A progress in learning)

Gabriel Columbus McDuffe, b. 12 May 1791 (Bourbon County, KY); d. 26 Jan. 1864 (Rush County, IN)

Photo from McDuffee family, one of Gabriel's descendants. "Thanks so much!"

"Uncle Gabriel joined the Kentucky Militia and served in the "War of 1812" in Canada. After the war was over..... they just turned the soldiers loose. He walked back to Kentucky. When he arrived home, his family thought he must be dead, but they heard him out in the woods hollering one evening. He asked them to bring water out there so he could take a bath and put on new clothes - clean clothes, as he was covered with body lice. Of course, everyone was happy that he was alive!

After that he came to Rush County (1826), then some time later he went to Virginia and studied under Alexander Campbell. Gabriel became quite a famous preacher in the community. He died January 26, 1864 and a funeral was held across the road here in the grove. But, since he died in the winter time when it was too cold to have a funeral, they held a funeral the next summer in the woods across the road here - west of Arlington Cemetery".     family gedcom

(Note:  The great Indian Chief, Tecumsah, was killed in battle 5 October 1813 in the "Battle of the Thames", Canada, while fighting with the British. Our family records had previously indicated that Gabriel was involved that battle, however, Gabriel did not enlist until 10 September 1814, as you can see below. I believe this story was handed down for generations and the story became blurred. So, Gabriel did not fight in the "Battle of the Thames" as previously described and I have deleted that statement in the above first paragraph).

This War has been called the "Forgotten War", but it is interesting to review what was going on between our new United States and Britain. For more information, go to:

WAR OF 1812 RECORDS:  Capt. Memorial Forrest's Company of Infantry, 16th Regiment, Kentucky Militia. Gabriel served between Sept. 10, 1814 & Feb. 17, 1815. Bounty land warrants (2).


24th Congress          No. 1437          1st Session



A Memorial and Joint Resolution of the State of Indiana to Congress, on the subject of granting a bounty in land to the organized militiamen, mounted militiamen, and rangers, of the last war.

Your memorialists, the general assembly of the State of Indiana, would respectfully represent:  That justice to the organized militiamen, mounted militiamen, and rangers, who so successfully protected the frontiers of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, during the last war with Great Britain, demands from the general government some additional remuneration to the small pittance allowed them in the act under which they patriotically enrolled themselves. Your memorialists are aware that this subject has been brought before your honorable body during the last session of Congress by the State of Illinois. With the views expressed by that State, in her memorial, your memorialists most fully accord. We, therefore, ask for the passage of an act providing that each commissioned officer, non-commissioned officer, and soldier, of the organized militiamen, mounted militiamen, and rangers, who entered the service of the United States under the several acts of Congress, providing for the defense of the frontier during the late war with Great Britain, and who was regularly discharged, shall be allowed, under such regulations as shall be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury, 100 acres of land, as a bounty from the United States:  the said and to be entered at the land office, and selected out of any of the unappropriated land of the United States which may be subject to sale at private entry; and providing, also, that the legal representatives of such soldier or officer, who may not be living at the passage of the law, shall be entitled to the same number of acres.

Approved, February 5, 1836

Uncle Gabriel's letter to his children dated Nov. 7, 1861

This letter by Uncle Gabriel was written during the Civil War. This letter speaks volumes regarding Uncle Gabriel's deep emotions and love for his children, grandchildren, and country. Read and listen to his passionate words in this letter....  He died in 1864, Rush Co., Indiana

November 4, 1861

To My Dear Children:

"I once more write you a few lines feeling as a father a deep solicitude for your welfare not having received any communication from you, since you wrote to your sister, "Delphy" (Priscilla Philadelphia), and knowing that our country is still drenched in blood and still raging higher and higher and will rage until rebellion is crushed out of our once happy country and southern Toryism destroyed! Many of our friends are now in arms and on the battlefield and many more ready to march at the sound of the trumpet. There is not a family in these bounds but has some noble sons or husbands or brothers in the service.

Your sister, Ursula, was here and she told me that her three oldest sons* are gone for three years. Your cousin, John Evans, has been a captain in western Virginia for three months, and I feel the blood of "1812" run warm in my veins! "Put down rebellion is the motto and save"! If you care not for me, let me know how my poor little grandchildren are and how they are getting along and whether the secessionists has killed them or no, and whether they trouble your country yet or whether they are all driven out or no, for your country is destined to be the home of the brave and the land of the free!

I must close. Crops are good, health is good, and all is life and bustle for the Union!"

Gabriel Columbus McDuffe


* Ursula's sons:    Sylvester M. Ballard, Chapman Ballard, & Columbus Ballard - Indiana Infantry

Another letter by Uncle Gabriel with no date

Gabriel's next to youngest son, Gabriel Newton McDuffee, had moved his wife and family to Kansas before the Civil War. He had moved his family into what Gabriel  considered "deep into the wilderness of Kansas Territory in the Kaw", i.e., the Kansas River Valley near Lawrence - a move that Gabriel did not approve. He was concerned about their welfare because, at that time, Kansas was a hotbed of scrimmages between those who wanted Kansas to become a Free State and those who were in favor of Slavery - therefore many called it "Bloody Kansas". Kansas was admitted to Statehood January 28, 1861, and about two years later, the famous Quantrill raid on Lawrence took place.     family papers -      for more information, go to:

To my son Gabriel Newton and wife Angeline, with little Benny, Sissy and all:

"The cause of Christianity never was known to prosper as fast as it now does. The church at Burlington (Arlington, Indiana) numbers 250. All over the land, they are coming in by the hundreds, and in Kentucky by the thousands, and Missouri by the thousands".

Gabriel Columbus McDuffe

"In the late 1850's, Gabriel Newton, his wife Angeline, and their two small children headed west to the Kaw Valley near Lawrence in the Kansas territory. Elder McDuffee feared for their lives, for Kansas was now being settled by both northern abolitionists and southern slave holders, and the frontier had its usual rough necks. August, 1863:  Quantrill led about 300 rough necks out of Missouri and they burned over 200 buildings in Lawrence. The raiders killed 150 and wounded 30 more Lawrence citizens. Many of the men of Lawrence hid or dressed in women's clothes to avoid the raiders. Little Ben was only eight years old at the time (1863), but he recalled that his Dad, Gabriel Newton, got ready to go into town that humid day to help fight the raiders when they rode past the McDuffee farm.The family feared for their safety and hid in the tall August corn fields which also hid the farm house from view. One of the raiders fell from his horse and was hurt badly. Gabriel Newton took him in and nursed him all night, but he died the next morning.

A negro slave of a neighbor came riding to their farm to warn that the 'Bushwackers' would come ahead of the Army and kill and burn buildings! Angeline was cooking a kettle of soup, and when she saw the 'bushwackers', she asked them in and fed them. Most were just young boys and had nothing but hardtack and coffee beans. Each one poured a little pile of coffee beans on the table before they left, and because of her kindness, Angeline had saved her family".     family papers

Ride with the DevilCurrently Watching:
Ride with the Devil
Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich, Jewel Kilcher, Scott C. Sener, et al.
see related

Excellent movie about Quantrill Raiders!!

Uncle Gabriel organized three churches in Indiana

After serving in the "War of 1812", Uncle Gabriel studied religion under Alexander Campbell (whose father Thomas was from Antrim, Ireland) who founded the Disciples of Christ at Bethany, Virginia. In Indiana, Uncle Gabriel was an elder and pastor in the Christian Church and was responsible for organizing the Christian Church  at Arlington in September, 1835;  also the Big Flatrock Christian Church  east of Gowdy in April, 1851;  and was a pioneer minister of the Plum Creek Christian Church. He was also a teacher in the early schools.      family gedcom

HISTORY: In 1845, the early settlers of the community around the present Big Flatrock Church began having church services in homes in the neighborhood. Interest grew and when weather permitted, they would gather in the grove across the road from where the church now stands. The pioneers kept working together until April of 1852 when they appealed for help from the Little Flatrock Christian Church in organizing a church. Gabriel McDuffee (McDuffe) was the minister; the first elders were Elias T. Hilligoss and William T. Hardy; the first deacons were Samuel G. Piper, Gideon Corey, Ethan A. Willey and James Hardwick, Sr.

In the fall of 1852 the church building was started. This was a slow process, because all the timber had to be worked by hand. The carpenter was Sexton Layton, contractor, assisted by Gideon Corey, William Parsons, Henry McRoberts, Arthur Layton and George Willey. The lumber was sawed by Calvin Hungerford, Sr. The shingles were made on the ground; the flooring and finishing were made and planned by hand. In the summer of 1856, the building was completed (see above picture). In the meantime the congregation grew and the charter membership was about 35. The first building was used until 1906 when slight remodeling was done and new seats were added.


"It's a great thing to rally souls to the cross of Christ!" - Knowles Shaw

One of the the greatest evangelists and hymn writers of the 19th century got his start at Big Flatrock Christian Church. Having grown up in the neighborhood, Knowles Shaw became a charter member and preached his first sermon in the church. Known as "The Singing Evangelist" he is credited for bringing over 20,000 souls to Christ and for writing over 100 hymns, the most famous being  - "Bringing In the Sheaves". Big Flatrock Christian Church is a fellowship of disciples of Jesus Christ drawn together by their common faith in Him, commitment to Him, and a love for one another that is evident to all".     Rush County records


HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN CHURCH:  This demonination was produced out of the Stone-Campbell movement and shares much with the Disciples of Christ (albeit there are differences). It began as a Restoration movement and one of its main founders was Barton Warren Stone. He was a minister of the Cane Ridge Presbyterian Church which hosted the "Cane Ridge Revival 1801", in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Two years later, he and four other ministers pulled out of the Presbyterian church - it was also known as the New Light Church. By 1826, this church had approximately 15,000 members. Alexander Campbell was an early leader, a former Baptist who disagreed with them on baptism. By 1830, he separated from the Baptist Church. What started as one denomination split into three distinct bodies: Christian (Disciples of Christ), Christian Church, and the Church of Christ.      family gedcom


More information can be found about Alexander Campbell, Thomas Campbell, Barton Warren Stone, and Walter Scott at this website:


The following paragraph relates to Alexander Campbell, who in the 1780's lived in Bethany, Washington County, PA.:

Raccoon Church was first built in 1781 and is one of the oldest churches in Western Pennsylvania. During Rev. Moses Allen's pastorate (1817 - 1838), Alexander Campbell, the founder of the sect of Campbellites or "Disciples Church", who at that time lived in Bethany, Washington Co., PA., attempted to organize a society in accordance with his particular belief within the bounds of Raccoon Church. He and his followers had held religious services many times, and succeeded in gathering quite an audience before Rev. Allen comprehended the situation. At all of their succeeding meetings, he was present and seated himself just in front of the speaker, and being versatile both by training and his argumentative mind, to respond to the invitations given by the speaker at the close of their religious meeting to refute any doctrinal points set forth. Rev. Allen showed their fallacy in such an effective way that the Campbellites soon ceased to hold meetings within the area where Presbyterianism was so ably defended.

Religion and Ulster Scots

Chapter 7:  "The Presbyterianism of the Ulster Scots, which defined their sense of themselves more than any other single factor, was imported directly from Scotland. Presbyterianism also gave the Ulster Scots a well defined separate identity which, even though changing over time, became the most enduring and visible aspect of their culture as they dispersed across many frontiers. Many features from Lowland Scotland persisted to some degree: 'a fierce spirit of independence and the "dour civility" that accompanied it, religious revivalism and supposititious beliefs and a tradition of political radicalism' inherited from Scottish covenanting tradition.

The intellectual migration between Ireland and Scotland was critical for deepening the Scottish influence on Ulster. The men educated in the Scottish universities were destined to become influential ministers and teachers within their own communities. Scottish-educated clergy were central to such fundamental developments in Ulster as 'New Light' Presbyterianism, which stressed individual conscience and personal conviction in religion rather than human-made structures or texts.

The Ulster Scot emigrants to America deserve to be considered as one distinctive element in the more general Scottish diaspora of the 18th century. Plainly Ulster was not simply another Scotland. 'Scottishness' varied between areas of heavy Scots settlement, such as north Down and south Antrim, and those of lighter concentration, like south Armagh, west Derry, and east Donegal. Equally, the depth of the Scottish link naturally might vary between recent immigrants and those of much earlier periods. That, too, would alter after movement to America. The Ulster Scots had 'a restless, hybrid, continuously evolving culture' reflecting a mobile people who had migrated first to Ireland and thereafter across the Atlantic. However, an integral factor in their distinctive subculture was their Scottish roots"!

"Scotland's Empire" by T. M. Devine

Family Information by one of Gabriel's descendants

The information below was written by a present-day descendant of Robert & Rachel, through their son, Gabriel. This information was sent to the Kentucky Historical Society in 1992. Much of the information is correct. Incidentally, it is very hard to find our family information because when our McDuffe family came to America the name took on a new spelling - from McDuffe to McDuffey, McDuffee & McDuffie. Apart from DNA testing, we cannot be sure in our research that we have the right family (unless we find a signature) - or good information. However, this information is from a present-day descendant, but with whom I cannot presently locate, or collaborate with, on the information or even update it from 1992 - but here it is:

"It seems they went their separate ways. Part of the McDuffie family resented the institution of slavery and headed north from the Carolinas. The rest of the McDuffie's stayed in the south with their newly acquired slaves. We can only guess at the emotional disagreements this split in the family caused.

Regardless of whether Robert was born in Scotland or not, we do know that his wife, Rachel, was from Scotland. The marriage to Robert was Rachel's second marriage. She was married to a man named Murlie who was killed by the Indians!

Robert & Rachel were the original land owners and built a log cabin in the wilderness along the banks of Beaver Creek in what was then Bourbon Co., Kentucky, which was later subdivided to make Harrison County. The wilderness that Robert & Rachel and their three children found was full of game of all kinds - including bear. There were Indians in the area, many of whom were still on the warpath.

On May 12, 1791, Rachel had her second son, Gabriel C. McDuffie. This was one year before Kentucky became a state. In fact, in 1791, there wasn't even a wagon trail into Kentucky, only a pack horse trail that wound through deep and dark forests, that made many a pioneer family easy pickings for the Indians. The pack trail started near Cumberland Gap and was one of the few ways to reach Kentucky at the time.

Gabriel C. McDuffie  grew into manhood along the banks of Beaver Creek. He married Priscilla Evans on Thursday, February 13, 1812. Priscilla was born in neighboring Bourbon Co., KY. on September 20, 1790. She was the daughter of Walter Evans of Virginia and her mother was Ursulla Herriott. Gabriel was raised among a large family of McDuffie children which included his older brother, Robert, Jr., five years his senior, and younger brothers and sisters, Fielding, Enoch, James, Rachel and Nancy.

Gabriel and Priscilla's first child was a baby girl named Rachel, named after Gabriel's mother. She was born January 25, 1813. The couple's second child was another girl named Ursulla, after Priscilla's mother. She was born November 16, 1814. Gabriel was not home during the birth. He had enlisted in Capt. Memorial Forrest's Company of Kentucky Volunteer Militia in September, 1814. Gabriel was directly under the command of Lt. Col. Andrew Porter. Porter's regiment had 990 men, Forrest's company had 101 men. Gabriel and other volunteers traveled either by foot or on horseback to the rendezvous at Cincinnati, Ohio, some 65 miles away. Then the regiment marched north to Detroit on the Canadian border for the remainder of the War of 1812. The War was soon over, but Gabriel had quickly made Sergeant on November 1, 1814, and was discharged in March 1815 in time for the spring planting. Gabriel had earned $44.00 for his four months of duty and also received $1.41 in travel pay for the four days journey between Cincinnati and Harrison Co., KY.

Now Gabriel could see his new baby, Ursulla, for the first time and tell his family abut the rich lands in Indiana territory that he had marched through. Surely this was a determining factor for many of the McDuffie's to move further north into newly formed Rush County, Indiana, in the 1820's. While Gabriel was away with the Militia, proud grandparents, Robert & Rachel, and other members of the family helped Priscilla with the new baby, Ursulla, and her two-year old sister, Rachel. Gabriel and Priscilla's family grew with the years to include five daughters and three sons: Polly, born Sept. 30, 1817; Priscilla, born Feb. 28, 1820; Nancy, born Aug. 29, 1823; Joshua Columbus, born Nov. 18, 1825; Gabriel Newton (called Newton), born Feb. 20, 1828; and Walter Evans, born in 1831.

The Indians had been driven out of southern Indiana by 1820 and Rush County was opened for the first time for white settlement in that year. Part of the McDuffie family moved north to Rush Co., in the fall of 1826. Gabriel and his family and brothers, Robert, Jr. and Enoch, while Robert, Sr., now close to 70, chose to stay on his acreage along Beaver Creek in Harrison Co., KY until his death around 1830. Rush County was now the new frontier. Game was plentiful, and a favorite past time was squirrel hunting. Gabriel became one of the first original land owners in Rush Co. on November 28, 1829.

Gabriel became one of the first school teachers in Rush County. He studied the ideas of Alexander Campbell and his Disciples of Christ and spent time as a circuit riding minister to several Christian Churches in Rush County. The Christian Church at Arlington (then called Burlington) was organized in September 1835 by Elder Gabriel C. McDuffie at a meeting held at the house of John Six. Among those subscribing their names to the articles of association was Thomas Collins, who was chosen Deacon. About 19 adults made up the founding members of the new church. For the first seven years, the members met in houses of the members, in barns, or in the wooded grove as weather permitted. Then in 1842, a little crude log structure was built. It was used for 10 years. By 1852, membership was large enough to warrant a 25 ft by 30 ft building, which was built by the members themselves."


If anyone has information regarding the above, please email Sue at: